Homeless shelters deal with colder weather amid pandemic

People seek shelter during cold snap
Published: Oct. 27, 2020 at 6:23 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Gospel Rescue Mission has made changes to keep guests safe during COVID-19.

“We’re having a lot of people come to us in need like never before," said Lisa Chastain, the CEO of Gospel Rescue Mission. "They’ve never been in this position.”

It’s a challenging time. People are in need of shelter but Gospel Rescue Mission must also prioritize safety. So far only a few guests have tested positive for COVID-19.

“I don’t want to jeopardize anyone’s health here. We’ve been very fortunate without any outbreaks at all with guests.”

Typically the shelter can hold up to 350 people but is now limited to a 50% capacity, using every other bed. The shelter is only taking in 10 guests each day.

“We have a mobile shower unit here on property. Everyone who comes in gets a new set of clothes, some hygiene items and they’re taken to the mobile shower unit. They’re showered and fully masked before they come in," she said.

Guests must have their temperature checked and are asked if they’re experiencing any symptoms of the virus. Meal-time has also changed.

“We usually invited everyone in for meals, but due to COVID we have been giving meals out which isn’t our preference because we want people to come in and build relationships, but we are giving out food on a daily basis," Chastain said.

Instead of a community meal on Thanksgiving, the shelter plans to give “Thanksgiving Blessings To-Go.” People can drive thru and pick up their meals on Nov 25.

Gospel Rescue Mission is in need of turkeys, canned green beans and pies for its Thanksgiving meal.

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